Women in Economics: Stalled Progress

24 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2018

See all articles by Shelly J. Lundberg

Shelly J. Lundberg

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Bergen - Department of Economics

Jenna Stearns

University of California, Davis


In this paper, we first document trends in the gender composition of academic economists over the past 25 years, the extent to which these trends encompass the most elite departments, and how women's representation across fields of study within economics has changed. We then review the recent literature on other dimensions of women's relative position in the discipline, including research productivity and income, and assess evidence on the barriers that female economists face in publishing, promotion, and tenure.While underlying gender differences can directly affect the relative productivity of men and women, due to either differential constraints or preferences, productivity gaps do not fully explain the gender disparity in promotion rates in economics. Furthermore, the progress of women has stalled relative to that in other disciplines in the past two decades. We propose that differential assessment of men and women is one important factor in explaining this stalled progress, reflected in gendered institutional policies and apparent implicit bias in promotion and editorial review processes.

Keywords: gender, economics, promotion, tenure, publishing

JEL Classification: J16, J71, J21

Suggested Citation

Lundberg, Shelly J. and Stearns, Jenna, Women in Economics: Stalled Progress. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11974, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3301729

Shelly J. Lundberg (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

University of Bergen - Department of Economics ( email )

Fosswinckelsgt. 6
N-5007 Bergen, 5007

Jenna Stearns

University of California, Davis ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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